Currently ranked: 39
Previously ranked: PNR
Though Safeguard Scientifics has public shareholders to please each quarter, the venture capital firm’s business model is built on a long-term view of performance.
“It’s more of an evergreen model,” says Martina Aufiero, senior vice president and managing director at Safeguard, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange. “We lean heavily toward partnerships and collaboration. We bring in and work with co-investors.”
Safeguard, which invests in digital media, financial services, and health care, hired Aufiero in June 2016 to build its fintech practice. She had previously worked at Tradeweb Markets, an electronic venue for fixed-income trading, and on Goldman Sachs Group’s principal strategic investments team.
Stepping into her new position, Aufiero inherited the nucleus of a fintech portfolio, which included Transactis, an electronic-billing and -payments company in which Safeguard invested in 2014. After she joined the venture capital firm, Safeguard added T-REX Group to its portfolio, in November 2016, co-investing in a series B financing for the provider of software used in financial markets.
“The worlds are not as different as one might expect,” says Aufiero, comparing Safeguard with roles she held at her previous employers. The Radnor, Pennsylvania–based firm tends to be a lead investor, says Aufiero, adding that she led fintech investments at Goldman. And as Tradweb’s head of corporate development, Aufiero worked on acquisitions, including the company’s 2016 purchase of predictive-analytics business CodeStreet.
Aufiero is staying away from the overheated, consumer-focused areas of the fintech market. There are plenty of opportunities in “old-school fintech,” she notes, adding that Safeguard is “heavily focused on capital markets and wealth tech.”
She sees security as a prime category for portfolio expansion. Although Safeguard invests at series A and series C stages, “series B is our sweet spot,” Aufiero says. Initial checks are $5 million to $8 million, and investments can rise over time, to as much as $25 million.